Feasting al fresco at Rebagliati Park

This weekend, Rebagliati Park will be transformed into a foodie's feasting ground, as organizers host the second annual Feast in the Mountains event.

A local yoga instructor and food distributor, Astrid Cameron Kent is very involved in the local culinary scene, also sitting on the Whistler 2020 Food Task Force and coordinating Whistler's annual Feast of Fields celebrations for the past three years.

The goal of the Feast in the Mountains event is three-fold: preserve farmland, promote local farmers and agriculture, and educate consumers.

Attendees receive a wine glass, cutlery and plate upon entry, then spend the afternoon meandering between tables laden with local food and drink, nibbling and talking with fellow food lovers along the way. Imagine fresh cheeses from Moonstruck and prepared dishes from chefs at the Chophouse and The Westin. Are your taste buds tingling yet?

The event has a loyal following but it's never been a sell-out, like its counterparts in other parts of the province. Cameron Kent is looking to change that. This year, she's changing things up a bit, partnering with Watermark Communications to host a slightly tweaked version of the event, dubbed Feast in the Mountains. Eventually, Cameron Kent would like to see it grow into a culinary destination event for the community.

"In Vancouver and Victoria they have 600 to 800 people show up, and we don't - yes, we have a loyal following, but I think it could be more."

She used to produce the event through a Vancouver-based charitable organization, FarmFolk/CityFolk. But this time around, has decided to partner with Watermark, though FarmFolk/CityFolk will still have a presence at this year's event, and will continue to be the recipient of the event's fundraising efforts.

Watermark also produces Corncuopia, Whistler's annual celebration of wine and food. But Sue Eckersley, president of Watermark, points out that Feast in the Mountains is more focused on food than wine, adding that she would eventually like to see it grow.

"I'd like to see it go into a weekend and have chefs up on the musical bumps and night events going on and really expand the programming so it's almost like an end of summer Cornucopia, in a way," Eckersley said.

Ticket prices are also considerably lower - $50 this year, compared with last year's $80 price tag. The goal is to draw a larger contingent of young, local participants who have a commitment to local food.

"We were responding to feedback from people saying it was too expensive for them," Cameron Kent admitted. "...We do risk losing money, but we're hoping that over the next five years, if you take a long-term plan, that we'll make it back."

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